The William Jackson III pick received mixed reviews from Bengal fans, as most draft picks do. Skeptics of the pick have pointed to an abundance of top-tier defensive tackles left on the board when Cincinnati was on the clock, as well as the team's passing on linebacker Myles Jack. Plenty of fans might be irritated that the Bengals didn't trade up for a wide receiver, despite the top four pass-catchers coming off the board before it was Cincinnati's turn to pick. But that's in the past, and William Jackson III was the player the Cincinnati Bengals felt was best suited for their Round 1 pick.
Jackson surprisingly fits what the Bengals want to do very well. He likely won't have as much of a learning curve as former press corner Dre Kirkpatrick, but the former University of Houston defensive back will need to adapt to the physicality of the passing game in the AFC North. Here's what some of the highest-regarded scouts had to say on Jackson before he was selected by the Bengals:
Jackson ranked as PFF's second-best corner and 16th best player in the Draft.
The second-best coverage grade in the draft class, Jackson is an aggressive, good-sized corner who will contest a lot of catches and make plays on the defensive side. He has the size and deep speed to develop into a number one corner.
Miller ranked Jackson as third-best corner and 19th best player in the Draft.
Miller called Jackson the safest pick among corners prior to the Draft and also really seemed to be growing on Jackson, heading towards the Draft.
Becoming more and more convinced William Jackson III is the 2nd CB off the board—after Jalen Ramsey— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 21, 2016
Jackson ranked as second-best corner, number 22 player in the Draft, per McShay. The ESPN analyst said Jackson is worthy of a late first round pick.
Jackson ranked as Jeremiah's fifth-best corner and number 32 player in the Draft.
Jackson was a 2 1/2-year starter at corner for the Cougars. He has ideal size for the position. In press coverage, he flashes the ability to re-route at the line of scrimmage and he has the speed to carry vertical routes. He is a little rigid when he flips and opens up but is quick to recover. In off coverage, he has some pop out of his plant/drive and he plays with excellent awareness. He has very natural ball skills and he plays big down the field. He is a physical run defender with a high batting average tackling in space. Overall, Jackson has all of the necessary tools to be a reliable starting cornerback early in his NFL career.
Jackson ranked as Brooks' fifth-best corner and number 43 player in the Draft.
Jackson is an athletic ballhawk with outstanding instincts and awareness. Jackson is ideally suited to play in a zone-based scheme that allows him to play with his eyes on the quarterback to steal picks off tips or overthrows.
Jackson ranked as Zierlein's fifth-best corner and number 43 player in the Draft
While Jackson has the traits for the position, the league is turning into small and fast or big and strong at the receiver spot and handling those two elements could take a year or two for him to improve in before he becomes a full-time starter.